Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Florida Governor gives up on touch-screen voting

An article by Abby Goodnough and Christopher Drew in the New York Times reports a speech in which Florida's new Republican governor announced plans to abandon touch-screen voting machines throughout Florida in time for the 2008 presidential elections.

Voting experts said Florida’s move, coupled with new federal voting legislation expected this year, could largely signal the death knell for the paperless electronic machines. If as expected the Florida Legislature approves the $32 million cost of the change, in fact, it will be the nation’s biggest repudiation yet of touch-screen voting, which was widely adopted after the 2000 recount as a state-of-the-art means of restoring confidence that everyone’s vote would count.

Several counties around the country, including Cuyahoga in Ohio and Sarasota in Florida, have exchanged touch-screen machines for others that provide a paper trail. But Florida could become the first state that invested heavily in recent rush to touch screens to reject them so sweepingly...

“You should, when you go vote, be able to have a record of it,” Mr. Crist told a few hundred mostly older citizens at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach, where thousands of residents accidentally voted for Patrick J. Buchanan in 2000 instead of Al Gore because of the confusing ballot design. “That’s all we’re proposing today. It’s not very complicated; it is in fact common sense. Most importantly, it is the right thing to do.”

Mr. Crist’s renunciation of touch-screen voting, just one month after he replaced Jeb Bush as governor of the nation’s fourth-largest state, suggested that the fight for paper voting records, long a pet project of Democrats, might now become more bipartisan.

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Comment by Anonymous Anonymous:

I heard about this on NPR this morning. It is very disappointing that the machines were never set up properly so that voters would have tangible documentation of how they voted. I never understood the argument against having a paper trail.

In one sense it is a step backward since voting technology can be a big plus but I do understand how the voters of Florida are extremely disappointed after the fiasco in 2000.

Hopefully they can get it right next time and regain the trust of Floridians.


3:51 PM  

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